Looksmart Signs 3-Year Sponsor Deal With PBS

Search site and directory operation LookSmart signed a deal to underwrite five PBS TV programs for three years each, including “Sesame Street” and the “Mystery!” series, plus three new cooking shows.

Spending details were not disclosed. Looksmart said the sponsored programs will reach approximately 18 million PBS viewers each week through both television broadcast and Web exposure.

The audience will closely mirror Looksmart’s female-focused “New Media Family” audience target of new- to intermediate-adopters of the Internet. The collaboration will include Looksmart sponsorship credits at the beginning and end of each program and acknowledgment of the company on the home page of each series’ Web site.

Looksmart on the Web will showcase streaming video segments from the three cooking shows. In addition, Looksmart will be promoted through home video and other media properties associated with the sponsored programs.

“We believe in the selective power of television to help build our brand as a marquee of quality,” said Evan Thornley, co-founder and CEO of Looksmart. “PBS sets the standard for quality programming, and we can’t think of a more fitting organization with which to associate Looksmart.”

Sponsorship of “Mystery!,” a crime drama with a British accent, starts in September. The “Sesame Street” sponsorship (the show has an audience estimated at 10 million children and adults) starts in December.

The three cooking shows are “The Chefs Of Cucina Amore,” (starting in October; “Great Food,” starting in January 2000; and Masterchef USA, starting next May.

Looksmart maintains editorially reviewed directories of content on the Web and distributes its services through a network of ISPs, major Web sites, portals and via viral marketing.

PBS is a private, nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation’s 349 public television stations that reaches nearly 100 million people each week.

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